Thursday, December 31, 2015

Random thoughts

The trip to Annapolis for fireworks begins today.


There has been feasting and walking and games and "potty chair" and baby laughter for the last eight days. The house will seem quite dull pretty soon.

Last year was pretty darn good, as far as years go.
New grandbaby
New house
Our relationship feels like a good pair of slippers
and
general contentment.

2016 looks very interesting
since we both LOVE politics.
Who will the voters actually choose
(not the television polls of 150 people)?
We enjoy watching and debating ourselves.
What ever happened to civil debate?
A debate for another day.
Which candidate will break out of the pack?
Debates
and then the election.
We will probably attend the

Inauguration

 of whoever wins. Of course that is two Januarys from now.

In the middle of political season
comes a huge blessing
A new grand will be born in April
or maybe March.
Their baptism will be
coupled with First Communion of the baby's sib.
Those events will be much more exciting.

We will do a bit of travel to see the West Coast family.
It is the year of fifth and tenth anniversaries of our children's marriages.
Yes, another great year on tap.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

It is time to be open.

Yesterday I spent an amazing day with the family.
Everyone was here with us to enjoy the toddlers.
And now it is time to really reflect the call of the Nativity.

A new season has begun.
Can we open our hearts and homes to strangers?
The refugee crisis- both Middle Eastern and southern border
seems to loom large in my heart.

I mentioned to a friend that if each Catholic parish took in one family
there would be more then 8,000 families cared for.
Let's extend that challenge to each church.
Look around
If each church took in one family-
even a single person-
and cared only for them for a year,
then what change would happen.

Let's extend that further.
If each community took in one family.....

You can only eat an elephant one bit at a time.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

No Snow!


Global Warming?
El Nino?
My friend praying for a warm winter?


Can you believe that we moved East and have no snow for Christmas?

We, 39.1619° N, are almost on the same latitude as Kansas, 39.1917°N,
and they have plenty of snow.
OK they are a bit more north.

Flagstaff is at 35.1992° N , but they are also at 7,000 ft. They, also, have snow. 
Dover is sea level (actually, 30Ft above sea level---whooopie)
Christmas will come, with or without snow. 
It will be the first one in three years that our small family will be under the same roof on Christmas night. 
All is well!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Self defense

Lots of self defense classes were taught to
my group of ten national Saxon consultants.
We traveled the entire country
in servicing in every type of neighborhood possible.

Some of the best lessons were:
Always be aware of where you are.
Look around you for exits
no matter where you are.

Listen- don't put earphones on out in public.

See something- say something.
Make those calls to 911 if it looks out of place
better to be safe then sorry.

Carry a great fashion magazine!
Although they cannot stop a bullet- they can slow it down.
If you roll it- it can be used as a baton to push away someone
Or hit them  across the face.
You can also throw it at someone
very distracting.

Get low and get out.
If you choose to make a stand-
get everyone else low and behind as much as possible.

If you encounter someone with a knife
and then are close enough to touch you
run TOWARD them.
It will throw them off.
Put your arm across your body to your shoulder and run.
Better for them to slash your arm
then your heart.

Don't ever show a gun unless you are willing to use it.
Guns are easy to grab away from a person who is
unwilling to use it.
If they get too close you take the 50/50 chance
that you will shoot someone (including your self) by accident.

Have a flashlight on your key ring.

Don't stop at rest stops at night.
Buy that $2.00 cup of coffee and stop at a restaurant!

Remember that the instep of a foot is very tender....

This will do nothing for you in a terrorist activity
but most of us will never be a victim of that.
Keeping yourself safe every day is important.





Tuesday, December 01, 2015

We haven't spoken in a while

My sister and I have not spoken in four years.
We do, occasionally, "chat" on facebook.
No actual voice contact.

That came after four years of almost nightly calls from her
She worked through loads of things
using me as her listener.
My husband reminds me that he never got to see me in the evenings
since she called and I always picked up. Sometimes I even went
across country to buy groceries. He often shook his head at that one.

Needed to be needed.

I am the one that broke the chain.
After having my mother go after me
again and again
to make sure my sister
had a will
on the side of the road in New Mexico on my way back to Kansas,
after staying at  my nephew's bedside at night in the hospital
and moving my mother
into a new place,
I screamed at her to
just get a damn will.

I was ugly.

I have only been that exhausted and angry twice
and that was one of the times.
Not an excuse, just is what it is.

That was it.
The phone went silent.
Weird at first.
Withdrawal was tough.
After a time, the family grew and time spent was forgotten.

Still strange.

Remembered the time when a test for vulnerability was given in college?
The professor remarked to me that I put too much faith in people
and it would come to haunt me someday.





Just visiting

I never met my father's grandparents
on either side.
 Had they passed away before my birth,
I do not know.

We only went to "visit" my father's side of the family once,
that I remember.
I was six.
There were LOADS of them.
With twenty or so second cousins
Dad was in the mist of family.
We never saw them again.

All visiting at Holyday time
was with my mother's family.
That actually stopped when Nana passed away in 1975
and most of us went to college.
Twenty two children in 12 years!
Here we are at Thanksgiving in 1966


Moving to my generation.
We spent three Christmas tides
but not one Thanksgiving
with my husband's parents.
We did visit about once a year,
but only when travel was good
and we could drive.

We saw my family several times a year.
Sometimes I even left my husband at home
and went to Thanksgiving with the kids and not him.
How did he tolerate that?
Not very "fair", was it?

My mother, two brothers and a sister still gather every
Christmas and Thanksgiving.
The youngers are beginning to drop off
having those celebrations with other sides of their new families.

My children are now grown and married.
We decided that we would attempt one HolyDay
together each year.
This year it will be Christmas.
Next year it is looking like Thanksgiving or Easter.
We try to pay for transportation.
It is tough when you have littles to pay for
and time in a car is not fun!

Otherwise, my husband and I spend the HolyDay together or
with our daughter's family.
My daughter's family doesn't see her husband's family much.
A two day drive or four plane tickets
Yowza.
They are driving out this summer,
much like we used to do with my husband's family.
Bite the bullet and just do it!

Does this mean we love each other less?
The time spent together, any time of the year,
is so valued.
Christmas does not mean less because we have to
share with each other on the phone
(Face time is fantastic).

Families evolve.
I cannot imagine being the first to move to the States
without anyone
ever.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The four day week

My daughter brought her sons over for a few days.
My grandson is learning that writing is not such a scary thing
The beginning of the week 
I taught him how to use the computer
to write his ideas down
edit
find a picture on the internet
copy
paste 
Print.
Why is it that it took me 5-7 months to teach the same skill
while teaching sixth grade?
 We also journeyed out to the bay to watch the moon rise.

There was lots of decorating for the feast. Both boys enjoyed putting it together. The younger was more interested in trying to EAT the corn---but that is a two year old for you!
 There was lots of relaxing and bare foot time.
This was the best type of Thanksgiving
Just hanging out and enjoying the week!
How was your Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Guilt trips and fear mongering

They are the same thing.
Neither gets the person to the next step
of offering a helping hand.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Refugees

In the last five days there has been a screaming match over
taking refugees in from Syria
or from the Middle East in general.

The US has long lived a refugee crisis
Europe is just now experiencing what we have
chosen not to deal with for the last fifty years.
We have refugees,
millions of them,
here,
now.
Would we be better served to actually deal with our own refugees?
Could we not process
and gently resettle
those who come to our souther border
or in airplanes?

Could we not take our refugee monies
and help them get settled
and give them "an identity"
and an education?

Could we stop calling them aliens?
Illegal aliens?
Could we teach them the courtesies of our county
and the language?
Give them money to settle and a place to lay their head?

Some would argue that they do not flee from war.
As a person who has fled from civil unrest
gunfire or lack of a job to care for a family
feels like war on a different level.

Quit complaining and begin to take care
of the refugees we have.
We could take in some more-
but let's care for those we already have.
Maybe it is time for Europe take in the people
they colonized
and stole from for the last 400 years.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Who/What shaped you?

As an educator
my feeling is that people are formed
both by nature and nurture.

Our nature is looking far more complicated then we previously felt.
If our mothers carry the cells of her mother
and all of our older sibs
besides hers and our father's when we are conceived,
then our nurture could go back many generations.
Although we are mostly "named" by the father's family,
We truly are more a part of our mother's.

Another part of nurture is the engagement of the brain in learning.
We are learning that our brain turns off main control
in certain areas
 around the age of seven and
moves learning to another center.
That "transfer" seems to be when a child learns to read.

Biblically, we find the passage PS 22:6
"Train them up the way they should go
and they will not depart from it."
We know that people depart all the time,
but do they?
Self esteem seems to be rather set by the age of seven.
Seven is considered the age of reason.
Maybe those early influences set us on "our path"?
Does it change when there are outside unexpected influences?

A new study has been researching children who had
traumatic things happen to them before the age of seven.
They concluded that those happenings can result in a lifelong
depressive state.
Could it be that the center that learning occurs in early on
holds our newly formed emotions?
One could conclude it would be very difficult to
change those feelings since that part of the brain
is no longer used for new learning.

There is another study that states that if a child
in the primary grades
has two bad years in a row
that child will always struggle with school.
Could one then conclude
that two bad years can take down self esteem
and depression can be set in?

I do know that many "good" friends are made in very certain times in our lives.
Primary grades- when learning is new.
Around thirteen, when learning moves to a different level
and then transition periods (marriage, children, deaths of loved ones, new job/business).
It doesn't seem the brain is studied much at this point.
Maybe there is learning in a new section since all the learning before,
has little to do with that moment?
There are not many times as adults these periods come
and the friends we make at these times are important in influence.

I know I am rambling
but suddenly the stages of shaping seem so important to me.

What do you think?
Too heady for this time of the year?


Maybe I just need more time at the shore?




Monday, November 02, 2015

All Souls

All souls day is an important day for me.
Traditionally, my family never really did anything for this day.
As I grew into my teens I felt need to pray for my father's mother
and then my mother's father,
Neither whom I had  met.

My Dad's mom died in a fire with her mother
when my father was 18 months old.
May 1929.
 My mother's father passed away from a stroke in December 1945
I still pray for their souls,
but more often I pray that they watch over
my children's souls.

The superstition is that when the person "makes it to God"
they no longer need our prayers.
The need to pray for these two has dissipated over the years.
Instead people of my past- Father Tom, my Dad,
my Grandparents I did know and
my Godparents come to mind.

There is great comfort in my religion that there is a continuity of souls.
Some agree and others do not
but believing that those who lived before us are still within us is now
becoming science.

They are now even seeing how generations before leave cells along the way.
Meeting of heaven and earth.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Busy month!

My drive back and forth to see the grands provide lovely scenes. 
This is one of the farms I pass.
It is a lovely Maryland farm.
I had no idea that there were these.


One of my trips ended at the aquarium with a group of boys.
I learned about sharks, conches and Skylanders!
 Later in the month my daughter's family and I traveled to Phoenix to see my mom and family.
One of my deeds this trip was to help my mom divide my Nana's charm bracelet.
This is the name and date of me and every one of my cousins.

 After we were done we visited the graveyard where many of my family are laid.
We found Dad, Nana and my grandfather, My dad's father and step mom, my aunt and uncle and last we went to find my Nana's parents. Here is her mother.
 Here are the father and the step mother who raised my Nana in Phoenix.

Loading up the mini van my daughter's family and I went to the land of my college and her high school years.  First stopping in Sedona for a shot of the redrocks. Missing the redrocks is one thing, missing the sycamore trees in Oak Creek is very different.  Sorry, I cannot take a picture of those scents!
 Flagstaff.  The leaves were changing, the skies were wonderful, we had a rain, saw my sister and enjoyed our old city.


One of the days we loaded up again and headed to the Grand Canyon.

It was a glorious day.
They headed home and my flight left for 46 hours in Vegas with my sister in law.
Whew.

Coming back to fall. The festival in my town continues

And the leaves are changing.


Last weekend my bff from 1975 moved out of her house in Coatesville PA. She and her husband are doing the ultimate and moving in with their daughter, son in law and new grandbaby. God bless them. If you want an amazing house in PA, this is the one!
Yesterday I sold my car. 122,000 miles and nine years, it is tired. My new car sits in the driveway waiting for another trip to see the grands. My husband asked me to stay home at least one day!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The best time of the year

No contest, Fall is my favorite season.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The tale of three

Three grandchildren
as different as the night and day and other day

Two started speaking before they were born
not really
but it seems like it

The third prefers not to say a word
except "Hello"
How many ways can one child say hello?
We are destined to find out.

All three bright as the sun.
Two climbers
Two talkers
Two will include you in on anything
Two singers
Two dancers
One amazing puzzle master
All different attributes
but so much the same.




Have you learned how to can?

The present for my birthday this year
is a pressure cooker.

Although my birthday was last week
my research for the perfect cooker has just begun.

Living so close to a farm store
next year my intension is to can everything as it becomes ripe.
My prepping continues!

Pressure cookers, like everything else in the US, has lots of options.
Choice one

wowza! Do you think I am ready for this thing?
Bells and whistles galore.
Choice two:
Lots less expensive
Lots more guessing
Those who know me will never try anything I can in this one.

Really this is what is desired
Of course this pressure cooker is not made for canning
Why? Oh Why?
It would be SO much easier!

Off to research!

Closing a house

A good friend's husband worked at a plant that laid off 90% of their workers
and so
I went to a her state
and began to help her close her house.

As an Army family
we learned to let go and just move.
This week marked a time in which I am beginning to understand
what a stressful thing it is to move.

What a week it was:
Facebook discussion with an African American
who informed me that he couldn't be racist
against Ben Carson because
he was black.

Blood moon viewing with my grandson
after birthday cake celebrating our birthdays.

News of the lay off and invitation to help pack

Planned Parenthood off the rails
baffling people with their bull sh=t

Listening to the news about the Russians and Syria

Hearing about another school shooting
but wondering how many African American kids
were killed in the last month, but nobody cares.

Gosh, Depressed?
No time, got to get ready for a hurricane.

Really, all is well. Looking forward to a quiet week of retirement
Soon!






Friday, September 18, 2015

The tales of a closet prepper!

We moved to Delaware before we found out that we are in the direct blast zone for DC.
Not only that, but I had no idea that this area is filled with nuclear plants
(No wonder why no one in this area cares if coal is stopped.)
We live on the "other side" of a five mile bridge to my kids.

So....
Prepping has started.
One could say that they are simply getting ready for a natural disaster.
Growing up practice to duck and cover did change me from a
niave little girl to a long time "look after yourself" person.
Even if it turns out to be for a natural disaster,
my house will be ready!

Here is the latest and greatest
within my budget, of course:
This is called a family life straw. 
It filters water in remote areas of Africa to better standards then most US cities.
You can buy a personal sized one
but it has a limited life.

This stuff is a bit pricy, but ultimately cool.
It does what it says it does
puts anything back together

Not like I am going to run away from my house....
This will be kept in my car from now on
( along with my small leatherman and my seat belt cutter).

When we lived in Germany we were required to carry a good first aide kit.
That kit has disappeared over the years 
(or maybe it migrated to my husband's truck).
A good first aide kit lives in my car once again.

After we were "iced" into our house for ten days in Kansas
we learned to have plenty of easy food on hand
and a way to cook it. 
Plenty of fire wood, a cast iron pot and some great eats
will keep us happy.
Hope we don't end up forging!

The best part of prepping is to hope that you will never have to use your supplies.
Canned chicken anyone?

For many more great ideas on how to be prepared
This guy has wonderful links!



Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Off to the races

Most of our stocks have been sold
Canning is almost done for the season
CSA has been purchased for the fall

YMCA has been joined for the winter
I am ready for the grands
And we are ready for fall!
Wonder how many bags of leaves we will have in about five weeks!
Best of all---- I have already started shopping for Christmas


Friday, September 04, 2015

Sleep can be very illusive

It is three am
My husband and dogs are fully asleep
He will be up in three short hours
and I will be soooo tired.

Anyone have some great tips on how to sleep through the night?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A week of sweet treats

The boys were here last week.
And one of my closest friends in the world.
And my daughter
and her daughter.
It was a full house.

Guess what?
It was a blast!
We went to the Farmer's Store,
Observed buggies of all sorts,
took walks and observed stars,
Went to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge beach
Went to Rehoboth Beach,
and went to Bethany Beach!

My grandson learned how to play poker.
We played Trouble and
Ticket to Ride.

We got to Church thirty minutes late
which still gave my youngest grandson
the opportunity to say "hello" to everyone
in the area.

And we laughed and played and chased and napped.

Such fun!

And! my stocks were fine in the end.





Thursday, August 20, 2015

That hurt! Stocks on the move!

Half of my retirement money is in the market.
OW!

My husband got out entirely on Monday.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

 Disney
 took a huge hit today
because someone decided that cable tv was going to disappear soon.
Really?
Somehow they missed the part about Star Wars coming out in December.
But that is a whole other story.

Most of my investments are stable companies
They all went negative.
Still ahead, my thought is to go ahead and get out.
The last drop was like this-
drip, drip, splat!
Hummmm
I will have to sleep on it.

There was this huge "patting on the back" procession
in the last two years
that things are back to normal.

I guess they are not!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When you are in doubt that the world is going OK

You need to look around

I have had more babies in my life in the last two years then in the last twenty.
A new child really says
The world is full of wonder to share!

What does a little person think is important?

I handed my two year old grand the camera.
First she took pictures
and then asked me to take a picture.

She sums up life-
doesn't she?

 Daddy and Mommy
 Nana
 Best friend
 Shoes are amazingly important to a little. "Doggies don't wear shoes!"

Riding and picking flowers!